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Bloggers allied - Part II

A previous post looked at blogger alliances in the world. Though instead of 'world' I should really say 'English language Google & Technorati' because that's all I looked at. I will look at French and Italian at some point, but more interesting would be to look at Korea, China, Japan, India (though the latter would likely have turned up in English...), Russia, and so on.

There were not many, and I categorised them by the broad categories: Political, Religious, Hobby & Single Interest, and Blogosphere Centred. Now I'll try to summarise some of the characteristics of them. The first of which is that they were almost exclusively American (20 out of 22).

Geo-Political boundaries
Most of the political ones were based on bloggers within a certain constituency (for example, the state of Virginia), banding together to represent their interests online, in an extension of their offline political allegiances. The 'Kurdistan Bloggers Union' refers to an ethnic rather than a geo-political territory, and no doubt many of the bloggers there were not necessarily based in the region of 'Kurdistan': this offers one example of the transnational potentialities of the blogosphere.
Others that transcend (potentially at least) offline geo-political borders would be the religious ones (though one is locally based – the 'SoCal [South California] Bloggers' Alliance') and the nascent 'Sci-Art Bloggers' initiative.

This one is a bit difficult to find out without further research, but some seem to be more individual initiatives, such as the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, while others have more of a collective base - Media Bloggers Association may be an example of this, though I don't know for sure.
Knowing the context of the founding of these groupings is important because then we can gain insight into their goals and motivations. For example, a single person might set up an 'alliance' and invite others to register and/or post simply in order to benefit (financially and/or socially) from the traffic on the website; a group effort is more likely to reflect particular social goals such as an effort to create a 'space' for contestation/alternative discourse.
There are some which are basically portals, or aggregators (e.g. State of Ohio Blogger Alliance), and some which provide original content (e.g. Christian Fiction Blog Alliance).

Online/Offline Focus
Most of these groupings are clustering online in order to carry out activities that have offline objectives: for example the political ones, or the religious ones. So, I would classify them as having an 'offline focus': trying to influence the outcome of elections, promote angling, or spread/strengthen a religion.

Those which have an 'online focus' would be concerned with raising the profile of blogs online, or other internet related issues (online gaming, for example): the Alliance of Free Blogs is basically about bloggers competing for attention amongst each other.

Blogs as Blogs
This one could overlap with the previous category: the Independent Bloggers' Alliance focuses on blogs as blogs, by which I mean that blogs are treated as an end in themselves, not as a means to another end. The 08 Bloggers Alliance is also very blog-centred, though it also seems to be related to SoPo blogs, i.e. those interested in tracking and blogging on the 2008 Presidential campaign in America.

The Media Bloggers Association is one that does deal exclusively with blogs, but its emphasis on blogs as a form of media, and the implication of media being a form of journalism, means that blogs seem to be conceptualised as a means to an end. Though they do also note the uniqueness of the blog:
Blogging is not only a publishing medium but also a vibrant form of personal expression. Media Bloggers Association members slip in and out of roles as journalists, reviewers, poets, pundits or provocateurs with each post. (About)

I think there are inherent difficulties with this category, as you can never separate the blogger from the blog, and the blogger will always have a multitude of motivations and interests, not all related uniquely to his/her blog...

For example, with the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance: they are interested in using their blogs as a way to promote their political agenda. Assuming they only do this via their blogs (i.e. that they are not full-time political professionals), can I then say that they are allying in order to promote 'blogs as blogs'?... Or does the fact that they want to use their blogs for non-blogosphere political objectives mean that they are not a 'pure' blog alliance? If I was to restrict myself to the latter, it would all get pretty self-referential and of limited use...

Musings... One could say that if a person is using a blog purely as an extension of their offline self, without seeing any 'added-value' from the blog, then they are not using 'blogs as blogs': e.g. an overseas student says, 'My blog is my way to communicate with people at home: if I was at home, I wouldn't bother'. Then the blog is simply an temporary extension of their body, like using a knife to chop cili padi. If the student were to say: 'Oh my blog has helped me to deal with home-sickness, and brought me closer to my family in ways I didn't expect, I think I'll always keep a blog.' - then we could argue that they have a more 'blog as blog' approach. Meaning they have incorporated it into their self. How does this extend to group activity though? ... /

Anyway, I really don't know the answer to that one yet, though it's always good to have relevant questions at least.

Here are the results of the above analysis in a quantitative form, though the underlying qualitative coding is inevitably open to question.

There are no amazing conclusions to be drawn, from looking at this data: the different categories are quite evenly spread out. A large proportion are concerned with an offline geo-political base, confirming what many say regarding the internet reproducing offline practices; similarly, most are concerned with offline objectives; about equal amounts are formed by individuals and groups; politics and religion form the main ideological basis of blog alliances.

There you go :-) Next up, in the third instalment, will be (finally) an analysis of Malaysian blog alliances and groupings.

++17/09: Update++
Since then I have come across more blog groups, and it just goes to show that half-assed 'surveys' done using Google and Technorati are much limited in their scope.
FYI, here are the other ones I came across, in no particular order - some more representative of 'true' alliances, some more individual initiatives speaking for an assumed community:
Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty
Blogs United Wiki
Music Bloggers United
One Million Blogs for Peace
Bloggers for Peace
Bloggers for Peace (a different one)
Lebanese American Bloggers


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